Sunday, July 20, 2008

HIDDEN SHADOWS by Lauren Hope


Dr. Jenna Gregor has just been on another horrid blind date. As soon as these ‘men’ find out that the divorced doctor has two children, they suddenly find other pressing matters to attend to. Jenna’s had it with the dating scene, at least for awhile. Her six-year-old daughter, Jacy, and three-year-old son, Dawson, will have her full attention for the duration.

Jenna works at an OBGYN clinic, counseling parents and would-be parents through issues of conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and those who suffer miscarriage and infertility. She’s noticed a few strange things from time to time- bizarre notes on her office door, etc., but doesn’t pay them any mind. She’s too busy. Seeing patients, shuttling her daughter to dance class and her son to karate, etc. But she’s not too busy to notice the good-looking landscaper across the street, who, as it turns out, is her son’s new martial arts teacher as well. She won’t pursue it, though. She’s not looking forward to another disappointing date, and especially not from a man who makes her hormones stand up and sing. That would be too depressing.

But Ben Aston has other plans. He’s already crazy about Dawson, and thinks Dawson’s mommy is fine. It’s all right with him if he keeps bumping into her- at karate class, in her neighborhood where he’s getting a lot of work, and even her clinic. His sister-in-law is pregnant, and his immature younger brother has fled the scene. Ben can’t help but support the girl who just hopes for her husband to come back.

Jenna and Ben start to hit it off as Jenna decides…well, not to be stupid. He’s gorgeous, skilled, runs his own business, isn’t married or gay, and likes her kids. Really, what more could the woman want? But even as things heat up between the two, disturbing events happen to Jenna. Her house and car are trashed; she’s followed; she receives death threats. Scared for herself and for her kids, she relies heavily on Ben. Then she starts to think- none of these things started until she met up with him.

Lauren Hope is a deft hand with a mystery; I did figure it out before the reveal but she throws several good curveballs. The fake-outs will have you as scared as Jenna was, and Ben is so wonderful it’s entirely plausible that Jenna would wonder if he was just a little too good to be true. And Thank God Almighty, finally. Finally. A heroine is faced with danger and does the smart thing. I can’t tell you how tired I am of reading about women who are up against horrifying scary danger but insist on staying in the haunted mansion because they are determined to show how strong and independent they are. This woman puts her kids first and says, “YES, POLICE. GUARD ME, HIDE ME, WHATEVER!” I cheered.

I enjoyed HIDDEN SHADOWS, which is mildly sensual, and mildly violent on the gore’o’meter. Thanks, Lauren!

4 comments:

Kimber An said...

Sounds intriguing, Robyn. It's always good to read a novel with a heroine mommy in it too.
;)

Robyn said...

Kimber, many times kids seem like plot points with grape juice mustaches, but I thought Lauren did it well here. Her heroine mommy really does put her kids first. Love it.

Lauren Hope said...

Robyn,

Thank you so much for the wonderful review!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
I appreciate your words about Hidden Shadows...and its author. :)
Glad you connected with Jenna - and the story.
Let me know if you're interested in the sequel Chasing Shadows, and I'll send it your way when it's available.
Thanks again!

Lauren

Robyn said...

My pleasure. So glad you joined us over here, Lauren!